Noradrenergic transmission and female sexual behavior of guinea pigs

Bruce Nock, Harvey H. Feder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


Treatment with the dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH) inhibitor U-14,624 (50, 100, or 150 mg/kg) blocked the induction of lordosis behavior by estradiol benzoate (EB) and progesterone (P) in overiectomized guinea pigs. After treatment with U-14,624 (100 mg/kg), norepinephrine (NE) content of medial basal hypothalamus, preoptic area and cortex was reduced (by 55%) and dopamine (DA) content of medial basal hypothalamus was increased (by 155%) during the period when females treated with EB and P normally display lordosis. Treatment with the NE receptor stimulator clonidine (1.0 mg/kg) restored lordosis behavior in females treated with EB, P, and U-14,624 (100 mg/kg), but the putative DA and serotonin (5-HT) receptor blockers pimozide (1.0 mg/kg) and methysergide (20.0 mg/kg) were ineffective in this respect. Thus, inhibition of lordosis after treatment with U-14,624 appeared to be attributable primarily to a reduction in NE neurotransmission, rather than to an increase in DA or 5-HT activity. Because clonidine induced lordosis in females treated with EB, P, and U-14,624, it seemed unlikely that the facilitatory effects of clonidine on lordosis were mediated by activation of presynaptic alpha-adrenergic receptors (i.e. inhibitory NE autoreceptors) rather than by postsynaptic alpha-receptors. In addition, pretreatment with the postsynaptic alpha-adrenergic antagonist phenoxybenzamine (20.0 mg/kg) blocked the facilitation of lordosis by clonidine (1.0 mg/kg) in females primed with EB alone and with EB plus P. Thus, the facilitatory effects of clonidine on lordosis appear to be mediated by activation of postsynaptic alpha-adrenergic (i.e. NE) receptors. The results of this study provide further evidence that NE neurotransmission facilitates the expression of female sexual behavior in guinea pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 27 1979
Externally publishedYes

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